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CCFC Urges Supermarkets to Shelve Grocery Shelf TV Ads
BOSTON - August 10 - The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is demanding that the Food Lion supermarket chain pull the plug on 3GTv, a controversial new marketing scheme that airs commercials on mini-televisions attached to grocery store shelves -- right next to the product being advertised. This fall, Food Lion and Automated Media Services will conduct a trial of 3GTv in several of its Bloom supermarkets in Maryland and Virginia. A successful test run is likely to have nation-wide consequences, spurring other grocery stores to follow suit. That's why CCFC is urging parents, regardless of where they live and shop, to petition Food Lion to shelve its on-shelf commercials.
"When screen-based advertising invades the public sphere, even the most vigilant parents can't protect children from it," said CCFC's Director, Dr. Susan Linn. "It's time to challenge the notion that marketers have a right to fill every nook and cranny of our lives with televisions and their blaring commercials. If we don't stop 3GTv now, families will be forced to run a gauntlet of TV advertising in every aisle of every supermarket around the country."
Televisions at the supermarket checkout counter are already common, exploiting a captive audience waiting in line to pay for groceries. But 3GTv, developed by Automated Media Services, ups the ante. At the exact moment families are making purchasing decisions, in-your-face TV ads will undercut parental authority by compelling children to lobby for the product being advertised.
"It's bad enough that popular children's characters such as Dora the Explorer and Shrek beckon from packaging on grocery shelves, encouraging children to nag for snacks and cereals of dubious nutritional quality," added Dr. Linn. "But assaulting families with actual TV commercials while they shop is a new low."
"Having TV screens all over grocery stores undermines my parenting," said Samantha Penrose, a mother of three from Urbana, Illinois. "You simply cannot avoid the presence of television! Not only are they getting to play their ads for our kids, but they are sending the message that it is normal to stare at a screen all day...in the car, at the store, in school...It's truly sickening."